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How dare you call me
Say I'm just a slip of a girl
Like you want to try me on,
Say I'm clean and fragile as porcelain
Like you want dirty me--
Press your greedy fingers into my clean white shell.
You stroke the length of my spine
Like it's a delicate flower--
And I know you're just waiting to crush it.
You push-you push-you push-
I break;
A glorious explosion of pure ivory
Crumbling in, a spiral staircase
Spinning, and falling into infinity
Breaking into blackness
--all blackness
And I walk on unsure faltering stairsteps
--like starlight--
Through the fallout,
And you... unscathed.
(He got away just fine--
the girl, she wasn't so lucky)
This Girl
This slip of a Girl
made ugly
(twisted like broken oleander)
She was not so lucky
--She sleeps in horrific blackness
--She dreams of peace she'll never know
But She lives--
If you call it such a thing--
In the fallout of her own beauty.

She falls softly down from towering pedastools...

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The following comments are for "Rhapsody in Black and Blue"
by shefallssoftly

Gershwin girl
I do try not to comment without really thinking a poem through, especially one such as this. But my first, instinctive response is that everyone here has to read this - now, and then again and again. This is unrefined, impressionistic emotion, and it got me at heart-level. Plunged straight back to those broken-oleander days. Ouch. But oh, so beautiful. Balletic. Rhapsodic. I'll be back when the fallout settles...

( Posted by: MobiusSoul [Member] On: November 14, 2005 )

Tres Cool
Liked this an awful lot. Some fantastic imagery here, confused and jumbled and chaotic like real emotions. At first I didn't like the lack of a driving force, an expression of one central emotion. Now I see that as a strength.

Minor thing: line 6 needs a "to".

( Posted by: Viper9 [Member] On: November 14, 2005 )

Very impressed
I must say you got to me with this poem. The feeling in it was so raw and raw can be so good. It feels wonderful to come back to lit and find words that make you actually feel something. Top knotch real stuff, thank you for giving me something worth reading.


( Posted by: nae411 [Member] On: November 14, 2005 )

Oleander, though lovely, is...
..also poisoness..Makes you lose your voice if leaf is chewed..Can kill you if enough is consumed...Interesting choice.

Casey- There are many young writers posting at Lit. They would do well to read you, a peer.

Actually, all writers here should read you, for no other reason than to be inspired.

Robert William, aka: Bobby7L

( Posted by: Bobby7L [Member] On: November 14, 2005 )

Very Nice
I thoroughly enjoyed this. Somehow it reminded me a bit of Edna St. Vincent Millay, though I'm not sure why...either way, it was a breath of fresh air to, and I applaud you.

( Posted by: Virtex [Member] On: November 14, 2005 )


shefallssoftly, she is visceral, she is haunting.

~ John

( Posted by: Flonigus [Member] On: November 14, 2005 )

Hi from one peer to another -- I was deeply moved by this very haunting piece -- it had all the right ingredients. Well done I feel honored to be in the same company as you.


( Posted by: eleda [Member] On: November 15, 2005 )

The Fallout of Beauty
Shefalls ~ I really like the interplay of imagery you've got going here. The delicacy of porcelain, slips, starlight, the wisp of something like a spine and the way spine contrasts with broken oleander. I think Mobius' reference to ballet is incredibly apt -- there's a tortured regality in this and that's not something many writer's can pull off well.

I was a little thrown by something, though, the first several times I read this. I still don't have it nailed down but I think it's there in the final line -- the fallout of beauty. Your poem does a wonderful job of portraying this invasion of desire but then there's something else I'm not being let in on as a reader -- why does beauty allow?

( Posted by: hazelfaern [Member] On: November 15, 2005 )

I'm... waiting for the 2nd draft
Casey -- because we've been down the road together before, and because I trust you with serious critique, I'm going to say that this isn't, yet, something that reads well to me. I think there's lots of emotion in it, which is a good fuel tank... but it's missing a bunch of the parts that so often make your stuff really impressive.

So many of the phrases, from "How dare you call me," to "slip of a girl," to "fragile as porcelain," "delicate flower," "falling into infinity," "unscathed," "dreams of peace she'll never know," "lives -- if you call it such a thing --" all these phrases, well... to be blunt... we've seen/read them before.

One of the things I love about many of your poems is that the imagery is so often unusual, fresh and intimate. This seems like it was written very quickly (which isn't always bad), but filtered through a lens of either someone else's idea of "how this emotion should be said," or "how we talk about these things." In the end, I'm left mostly with images that I already had, and no real idea of why you've brought them together.

Several images, however, are quite interesting and unique: "broken oleander," "fallout of her own beauty," "faltering stairsteps." These remind me very much of some other pieces of yours which have moved and even frightened me (in a good way).

Now... upon reading the piece several times, it did occur to me that some of the more traditional/used images could have been placed in the mouth of "the other" (the narratorial "you") by the writer. If that is the case, I think you might do well to make it a bit more obvious, and to, perhaps, use that contrast even more fully as a distinction between the beauty of the speaker and the ugliness of the one who breaks her. Conversation in poetry is difficult, but it might be worth the effort to actually hear the words;

"You are beautiful,
a slip of a girl."
Like you want to
try me on.
"Clean and fragile
as porcelain."
Like you want to
dirty me.

The contrast between two clearly different voices might make the he/she tension/violence even more... well... tense and violent.

There is a really nice poem in here, in this contrast between beautiful words, beautiful girl and ugly act, ugly destruction, ugly finality. It needs a bit of tuning, though.

Also... and, yes, I'm being harsh here, I know. The "lovely young girl crushed and ruined by bad man" theme is, on its own, somewhat "done." I'd ask you this question: what can be added? What dimension of this girl (or the bad man?) have we *not* seen in other stories/plays/movies? What new beauty is exposed by her changed condition? What revenge could be taken on the man? What does she learn?

I want to know more...

( Posted by: andyhavens [Member] On: November 15, 2005 )

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